Detroit City Council urges police reform amid national outcry against police brutality

The city council is urging officials to implement police reform amid national unrest over George Floyd killing

Protesters in standoff with Detroit police on night of June 2, 2020. (WDIV)

DETROIT – The Detroit City Council released a statement Tuesday urging the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners to adopt police reformations amid the national unrest over the killing of George Floyd.

Floyd, a Black man, was killed after a now-former Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was in police custody, handcuffed and laying on the ground.

People across the country are protesting against police brutality and demanding change to prevent further tragedies from occurring in the future. Among the demands from some protesters is to implement police reform -- which typically includes increased training and new field procedures -- to help officers better respond to tense situations.

MORE: Examining police reform: Does it work?

In the statement, the Detroit City Council is urging the board to adopt the following police reforms made popular by Campaign Zero’s “#8CantWait” campaign:

  • Ban chokeholds and strangleholds
  • Require officers to de-escalate situations before using force
  • Require officers to give a verbal warning before shooting
  • Require officers to exhaust all other reasonable alternatives before using deadly force
  • Require officers to intervene to stop another officer from using excessive force (Duty to intervene)
  • Ban officers from shooting at moving vehicles
  • Restrict high level of force to only the most extreme situations
  • Require officers to report all uses of force including threatening civilians with a fire-arm
  • Require officers to be trained to identify and recognize those who are Deaf/ Hard of Hearing
  • Board of Police Commissioners monthly review of body cam and police car recordings as a form of accountability and oversight

The council also says it supports the national Justice in Policing Act that includes reforms similar to those mentioned above.

The council’s statement comes just after Detroit protest organizers and founders of the new Detroit Will Breathe organization released a list of demands Tuesday morning ahead of a meeting with Mayor Mike Duggan and Police Chief James Craig.

Detroit organizers have demanded more widespread change that includes but goes beyond the police department, including a move to defund the police, make Detroit a sanctuary city, restore running water to all city residents and more.

READ MORE: Detroit protest leaders list 11 demands ahead of meeting with mayor, police chief

Last week Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones announced her support for the peaceful protests demanding justice for Floyd and countless other Black Americans unjustly killed by police officers.

“Now is the time for us to speak up and initiate local, state and federal government policies to bring about systemic change. But, our voices will not count if we are not counted," Jones said. "We must vote. We must participate in the Census. This is how we let the families of George Floyd and Detroit’s own Damon Grimes know their loved ones did not die in vain when they were killed by rogue police. We still see them and we will do right by them.”

You can read the Detroit City Council’s full statement supporting police reform by clicking here.

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About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.